RNA - It has nothing to do with Israeli military aggression or tanks shelling the Gaza Strip after alleged rocket fires from the blockaded coastal sliver into the occupied territories on Saturday that marked the anniversary of the Great March of Return and the Palestinian Land Day. It has everything to do with US complicity in Israeli crimes against humanity and of course international inaction to hold the occupying regime to account.
This kind of international inaction is the reason why President Trump feels emboldened enough to issue a decree recognizing the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. It’s also the reason why Israeli officials present this as a major ground-breaking recognition, and seem to hope it would be embraced by someone else - so that they could continue to martyr defenseless Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border.
So far, not a single nation has endorsed Trump’s Golan move, which is promising at best. But more needs to be done not to just unanimously reject the US recognition of Israel’s annexation, and continue to view Golan in line with UN Security Council resolutions, but to make sure there are resolutions at the UN that are binding enough to stop Israeli tanks from shelling the Gaza Strip.
Put simply, the Golan Heights are legally part of Syria, occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed by them in 1981. The unlawful recognition of the annexation will only embolden the occupying regime to try to annex more occupied Palestinian territories in the future, figuring the US will ultimately sign off on them at the UN. After all, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested that is the case, arguing that anything taken in the war is “ours now”.
Add this line, too, that Netanyahu and his vicious Zionist faction should also be held to account for each and every Palestinian killed during the peaceful protests in Gaza. Lest we forget, UN Chief Antonio Guterres has already called for the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted as he visited the Palestinian enclave enduring “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” he had seen.
In his words, “I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations. It’s important to open the closures.”
On that note, Israel and Egypt will never open the border if there is no binding UN resolution to enforce it.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for 13 years, while its sole crossing with Egypt has also been largely closed in all these years. The enclave has become unliveable, with sparse electricity and a lack of clean water.
Worse still, more than one million people in Gaza rely on humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs. The blockade that Israel imposed in 2007 has devastated the economy and brought unspeakable hardship for Palestinians. Now, as recent funding cuts from UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestine, take hold life for many has gone from bad to worse.
On top of this humanitarian crisis, The Great March of Return protests have been ongoing since March of 2018. Unarmed Palestinian protestors continue to be targeted by Israeli snipers and tanks. Reports are emerging of a collapsing health sector and growing hunger, along with continued injuries and a rising death toll of demonstrators.
True, the UN has significantly increased their funding. Even so, the situation looks bleak. Increased humanitarian aid is an important step forward but dealing with the root causes of the crisis by lifting the blockade is also crucial in ensuring that Palestinians are able to have a sustainable future.
Indeed, more needs to happen on the diplomatic front, as the European Union and the United Nations, and the Arab League limit themselves to bland statements of concern. Even worse, there is a tired sense that the international civil society has been here before, and that even if this round of violence comes to an end soon, another one is bound to begin before long.
While the Palestinians decry the violence they are subjected to by the Israeli forces, most media commentators in the region are also anxious for the violence to end. They rightly question whether the United States, the Arab states and the European Union are indeed willing to end the violence. They are not.
It’s still the business-as-usual attitude at the UN, too. No one seems to care but a handful of nations that have no veto power at the Security Council. The US vetoes each and every anti-Israel resolution that calls for an end to Israeli aggression and occupation, which are a simple, every-day occurrence. For the most part, UN sessions and programs of all types continue to happen as if nothing is amiss.
This has to end. The international civil society should rework its diplomatic language and realize that this is no warfare but blatant aggression from Tel Aviv over its occupied objects. The lack of significant movement on the diplomatic front and the relative inaction at the UN should end so that Palestinians could have a normal life like other UN member states.
For this, the only guarantee is to bring an end to the Israeli occupation. Short of doing this, chances are high that more Palestinians will take to the border for protests who will face a greater lethal Israeli response that has been disproportionate and unlawful under the fundamental norms of international law and the UN Charter.